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Presenting Policy: Proactive Ethics

Policy of the Month

The University Compliance Office (UCO) is featuring a "Policy of the Month" starting September 2020 in order to assist faculty, staff, and students to better navigate and understand the many policies and procedures of Villanova University. Each month we will explain how the chosen policy connects to our daily activities and sets expectations for individual members of our University community.

All members of the University community have a responsibility to review and understand the policies and procedures that may impact them. Many of these policies are located within the Villanova Policy Library (VPL) which can be accessed through MyNova. Taking the time to learn more about Villanova’s policies helps to strengthen our unwavering commitment to integrity, academic, and workplace excellence. Below is a convenient drop-down menu to access the Policy of the Month.

Why?

Web accessibility is the means by which web content is coded and designed that allows all individuals to use and consume information published on web pages. Accessibility of web content enables individuals with various levels of ability, including those with disabilities that may impact sight, movement, or cognition, to consume the same information. All University faculty members, staff and students who are involved in the procurement, preparation, and maintenance of University websites should ensure that the content they create and upload is accessible for all.

Resources

Villanova University, through UNIT and the Web Accessibility Work Group, continues to work toward building and sustaining an environment where all individuals who have access to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) are provided with adequate tools and understanding regarding web accessibility guidelines.  We require that all new and existing AEM users complete web accessibility training and encourage peer-to-peer learning through a common University listserv of AEM users.

Internal Resources

Learn@Nova Bridge Course Web Content Authoring for AccessibilityThis course is required to be completed by all AEM users by December 31, 2020. If this is not completed by the required timeframe, access to AEM will be revoked until the course is completed.

AEM Author Resources (Teams site)

Web Accessibility at Villanova

Content Author Accessibility Checklist

External Resources

WebAIM (includes WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool)

Document Accessibility Checkers

Policy

In accordance with applicable laws, University faculty, staff, and students who are responsible for Villanova web content must take steps to ensure that such content is accessible to all visitors, including individuals with disabilities. The Villanova University Web Accessibility policy establishes standards for content featured on the Villanova.edu website and other web content managed by or on behalf of the University, and requires accessibility of all new web content, except where doing so would impose an undue burden on or fundamental alteration of University programs or activities.

A Message from the Web Accessibility Work Group

“Providing equal access to Villanova’s programs and services for individuals with disabilities, including equal access to its website, is integral to the University’s identity as a Catholic, Augustinian institution. The University’s guiding principles of Veritas, Unitas, Caritas (truth, unity, and love) and mission of fostering an environment that supports individual differences insist that Villanova not only meet legal requirements, but take all steps necessary to ensure that every member of the Villanova community feels welcome and included in all aspects of University life. Accessibility is and will continue to be a core priority for Villanova.”

James Allsman, Assistant University Compliance Officer

Leyda Benitez, University Compliance Officer

Mark Hewlett, Assistant General Counsel

Leslie Sharp, Manager, Enterprise Web Application Development

Randy D. Weinstein, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning

Why?

If as part of your job responsibilities at Villanova you have the ability to access records that directly relate to an individual student, you should be familiar with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, or “FERPA”, also known as the Buckley Amendment. This Federal law protects the privacy of Villanova University students’ education records.

Under FERPA, education records are those records that are directly related to a student and maintained by the University or by a party acting for the University. Education records may appear in a variety of forms, including paper and electronic formats. The general rule to know is that absent an exception, information in an education record is private and cannot be released to anyone without the student’s prior written consent. The FERPA regulations do contain a number of very specific exceptions that permit Villanova to disclose student education records without the student’s prior written consent, many of which are described in Villanova's Disclosure of Student Records policy.  

FERPA also provides rights to our students to request access to their own education records and request an amendment of their education records.

Resources

Internal Resources

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act – FERPA Basics Education Module I and Case Studies.  This program is offered by the Offices of the Vice President and General Counsel and University Compliance and provides you with the framework for understanding FERPA rights and obligations.  It includes case studies with examples of the application of FERPA in the academic and administrative work environments.

External Resources

Department of Education - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FAQs

FERPA Regulations, 34 CFR Part 99

FERPA General Guidance for Students

See Recent Guidance on:

FERPA & COVID-19 FAQs

FERPA and Virtual Learning

Policy

The Disclosure of Student Records policy implements Villanova University’s FERPA obligations and is required reading to better understand FERPA. The policy informs the reader of:

1) The categories of information Villanova deems to be directory information; as such, this information may be disclosed without the student’s prior written consent except that you need to make sure that the student has not “opted out” (in which case such information cannot be released);

2) What is deemed to be personally identifiable information (PII) and, therefore, confidential. PII means that the information may include the name of the student; the address of the student; a personal identifier such as social security number; or a list of personal characteristics or other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable;

3) In what circumstances FERPA permits the disclosure of education records, or PII contained in the education records, without the prior written consent of the student; and

4) A description of the students’ rights under FERPA and the process to exercise these rights which include the right to request access to review and inspect their education records, and seek amendment if they believe their education record is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights.

Upon review of the policy, if there are any questions or requests for more in-depth training regarding FERPA, please contact one of the Offices listed below. They are available to assist you with your questions and training needs:

Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (Contact: Mark Hewlett, Assistant General Counsel, mark.hewlett@villanova.edu)

University Compliance Office (Contact: Leyda Benitez, University Compliance Officer, leyda.benitez@villanova.edu).

Questions may also be submitted anonymously or confidentially through the ethics and compliance hotline, EthicsPoint, available 24/7 at:

  • villanova.ethicspoint.com or
  • toll free-number 1-866-236-1443.

 

Why

The Villanova Anti-Hazing policy defines hazing as any intentional, knowing, or reckless action or situation that, for purposes of initiation or admission into or affiliation with an organization, or as a condition for continued or enhanced membership in an organization:

  • Endangers the mental or physical health, safety, wellbeing, or dignity of an individual, or
  • Destroys or removes public or private property

Although there has been an increase in online remote learning, hazing can still occur in a virtual platform. A 2019 survey conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center noted that 36.5% of middle and high school students have been the victim of cyberbullying, and about 16% revealed that they had cyberbullied others. In addition, a study sponsored by the American Counseling Association, found that up to 22% of college students reported being bullied online and 38% of participants knew someone who had been bullied online.

Resources

The week of September 20th-25th is National Hazing Prevention week. Villanova students, faculty and staff should take the time to be aware of the signs of hazing in order to look out for our fellow community members. HazingPrevention.org identified several warning signs of hazing, including:

  • Sudden changes in behavior after joining an organization, club, or team
  • Desire to leave the organization, club, or team without giving any explanation
  • Weight-loss; exhaustion; or sudden changes in appetite, sleep habits, or appearance
  • Secrecy, avoidance, or stress surrounding new member activities
  • Unexplained injuries or illnesses
Reporting Resources at Villanova:
  • Reporting Resources at Villanova:
  • Public Safety Dispatch, 610-519-4444 (emergency 24/7) or 610-519-5800 (non-emergency 24/7)
  • 911 (for off-campus emergencies)
  • Any Resident Assistant/Residence Life Staff (24/7)
  • Dean of Students Office, 610-519-4200
  • Student Involvement, 610-519-4211
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life, 610-519-7280
  • Hazing Reporting Form
  • Villanova University Anonymous Reporting - EthicsPoint

Policy

Hazing can occur in a variety of groups and settings and it is the responsibility of every community member to speak up and prevent hazing. 

It is up to our entire University community to be part of the solution and help change the culture around hazing. The first step is to familiarize yourself with  the Villanova University policy prohibiting hazing, located in the Villanova Policy Library as well as the Student Handbook.

A Message from Villanova’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life

"As a Catholic, Augustinian University that insists that mutual love and respect should animate every aspect of university life, we have no tolerance for hazing in our organizations. We will continue to educate our community to prevent hazing in all its forms and to live in compliance with our antihazing policies and state laws, but mainly to be aligned with our Augustinian Values of Truth, Unity and Love!"   -Fr. Bernie Scianna, Director of Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Villanova University

Access Links:

Villanova Policy Library - Public Access (VU Students & Adjunct Faculty) Select "Visit our Public Site"

Villanova Policy Library - Licensed Users (VU Staff & Full-Time Faculty)

Questions:

The Villanova Policy Library is an ongoing and continuous initiative. At this time the University Compliance Office (UCO) continues to work with departments/areas in the transition of their policies and procedures.

Questions regarding policies can be referred to either the UCO at 610-519-5466 or the person listed for that department/area in the Department/Area Contact List.